Dot’z Dawgs & Drafts transports diners back to a simpler time—a time when food was no-fuss and comforting and the world moved at a slower pace. There, diners drink beers and chow down on Chicago-style hot dogs, pizza, and wraps while gazing at vintage Coca-Cola advertisements and the photos of old Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball that encompass every inch of free wall space. Amid the 1950s montage, vinyl-and-chrome chairs—striped with the scarlet and silver colors of a retro diner—tuck themselves beneath simple silver tables.
After dinner, patrons grab ice-cream cones and head outside for a stroll along Corpus Christi Beach. The adjacent outdoor playground area is perfect for entertaining kids with hula-hoops and rousing debates on the ethics of peeking during hide-and-seek.
Intent on supplying diners with healthy choices by making flavorful, readily available food, the chefs at Urban Fare Cafe craft a menu that mingles Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, and African cuisines. Piquant soups such as the carrot bisque with ginger and mint pair with guiltless sandwiches and wraps such as the Montreal-style roast beef. Alternatively, whole-grain-wheat pizzas stand in for starchier pies, and cooks prepare rice bowls with either white or brown rice. Baristas emit the aromas of roasted coffee beans throughout the eatery by brewing espresso drinks and practicing levitation with café mugs.
Beauty & the Bistro Café & Catering's uniformed staff add friendly elbow grease to their catered social and corporate events. Expectant mothers round up posses of up to 30 guests for a two-hour takeover of the bistro's party room, where a sign-in and gift table greet guests and assign code names written in baby talk. Load up on human fuel from a buffet spread, filling antique china, glasses, and silverware with comestibles including seasonal fruits, parmesan pasta salad, and sliced croissant sandwiches stuffed with generous portions of chicken salad. As light dinner music plays over excited conversations and debates on the origin of the rattle, the staff quiets wailing sweet teeth with slices of guest-provided cake.
Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for the past 25 years, fleshing out its lineup of specialty pizzas with a munificent menu featuring an array of classic and specialty pizzas. Traditionalists of Italian fare can indulge in the Spicy Italian with pepperoni, sausage, and invisible meat. More progressive pie enthusiasts may select the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken ($15.99), or go all-out and get The Works, a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy Italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and ripe black olives ($15.99). Like a bangin’ club or especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune eatery for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
Portis Kountry Kitchen's cooks prepare a down-home menu of Southern soul food served up in a cafeteria-style eatery. Baked or fried chicken, smothered steak, and fried fish compete for top billing, as a side of corn plays cupid with suitors of parsley-buttered potatoes, french fries, or spinach, to comprise Friday's lunch special of one entree and two sides ($6.99). Classic sandwiches, such as the Ruben ($5.50) and the triple-decker club ($4.99), stack meats and vegetables between lightly toasted white, wheat, rye bread, or a croissant and audition for mouths with a choreographed step-dancing routine featuring an ensemble of chips, a drink, and a pickle slice.
Saigon Café’s Vietnamese chef lends toothsome authenticity to a menu of traditional dishes. The noodlery boasts sandwiches ($2.95), rice dishes, vegetarian options, and a rainbow of bubble tea flavors, including papaya, mocha, watermelon, and love ($3.50).
In one rice-platter scenario, a battalion of rice stands guard for a char-grilled pork chop and egg-roll royalty ($6.95).